Today marks the 300th Anniversary of Lancelot “Capability” Brown’s baptism on 30th August 1716 in Kirkhale, Northumberland. His ability, or capability, for creating natural looking landscapes for many of Britain’s stately homes is what he is most well-known for today. There are over 250 gardens or landscapes credited to him, some of which he over saw the construction of and others he submitted plans for.
There are at least four gardens in Devon alone directly or indirectly credited to him, details of which can be found on our shelves. In Todd Grey’s book The Garden History of Devon there are references to gardens at Escot, Talaton; Mamhead, Kenton; Ugbrooke, Chudleigh and Widdicombe, Stokeham.
In the wider Southwest Brown also worked on estates such as Highcliffe Castle, Milton Abbey and Sherbourne Castle in Dorset as well as Kelston, Burton Pynset, Newton Park, and Prior Park in Somerset. Histories and guides of many of these places can be found in our Local Collection of library items.
Further afield and more notably are the estates and gardens of Cardiff Castle, Battle Abbey in Sussex, Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, Blenhiem Palace in Oxfordshire, Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace, and Chatsworth in Derbyshire. All of these places can be found in items on our shelves in our General Collection. Guides to and histories of these buildings and their gardens can be found as well as book on the history of gardening and the methods used in gardening and cultivation over the centuries. There are also a few items which Brown himself may well have been familiar with A General Treatise of Husbandry and Gardening by Bradley published in 1726 and The Gardeners Kalendar by Philip Miller published in 1760.